Boxee vs Google TV: A Quick Comparison

Boxee vs Google TV: A Quick Comparison

Vivian Kim
Dec 17, 2010

I try to keep my home entertainment setup neat, simple, and efficient. I've been happy so far using Boxee to get my internet content, but I still thought I'd give Google TV a try. After using Boxee and Google TV, both get the job done, but neither are perfect.

For my HTPC setup, I just want a quick and easy way to stream web videos with a nice user-friendly interface. My Boxee setup is running on a Mac Mini, controlled with a Logitech diNovo Mini HTPC keyboard. Boxee does its job of bringing internet content to my TV in a non-computer like way. My favorite thing about Boxee is that it has a queue which is fed from your friends' social feeds. So if anyone posts a video on Twitter or Facebook, it will load onto your Boxee queue. Boxee also has a "Watch Later" bookmarklet where you can add videos that you come across during the day onto your queue for viewing later. Unlike Google TV, when I get home I have a bunch of internet videos waiting for me to watch.

While Google TV doesn't have a queue system, it does have a speedy, easier way of searching for and watching internet videos than Boxee. Since a TV signal passes through it, Google TV allows you to continue watching television while searching for internet videos. It really feels more like an additional interface layered over whatever you're watching on television, rather than a completely separate interface (like Boxee). Because I'm able to keep TV playing in the background, I feel like I'm more likely to use Google TV to search for web videos since it doesn't interfere with my TV watching experience.

Boxee, however, does have higher quality web apps than Google TV, which is surprising considering how big a company like Google is compared to a small company like Boxee. Boxee has hundreds of web apps where as Google only has a dozen or so. This is sure to change once Google TV adds an app store, but for right now Boxee clearly has more content. Boxee also currently wins when it comes to playing my own media (i.e. Google TV cant play .mkv files, which I have a lot of).

Boxee Pros:
- Queue system
- High quality useful web apps
- Twitter/Facebook video feed
- Supports pretty much any video file codec

Boxee Cons:
- Have to switch inputs
- Limited browser capabilities
- Cannot search or control Live TV

Google TV Pros:
- Interface does not interfere with TV watching
- Can still watch TV while searching for web videos
- Potential to run Android apps
- Can search Live TV programming

Google TV Cons:
- Few apps
- Poor quality apps
- Does not support .mkv files

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